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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Rachel Flowers

Bigger on the Inside

Review by Gary Hill

This is such an impressive release. It would be exceptional no matter who performed this music. The thing is, every instrumental and vocal part on the disc was performed by Rachel Flowers herself. That makes this even more of an accomplishment. The blend of fusion, progressive rock and more on here is so cool, and this album just shines very bright. It truly is "bigger on the inside." Perhaps it's a sonic TARDIS. It does seem to be able to travel in space and time.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.


Track by Track Review
A B
This wastes no time, powering in with a rather funk-driven, hard rocking jam. Layers and textures of fusion and prog dance over the top as the number continues.
Take Me Away
Organ brings this piece into being weaving a dramatic motif. The cut works to symphonic prog that makes me think of early Genesis to some degree. It drop to a mellower, balladic approach for the entrance of the vocals. The cut continues to evolve and grow with varying shifts and modes. This is a classic example of killer symphonic prog. I really dig the keyboard solo movement later in the number. At nearly 12-minutes of music, this is an epic piece, but in terms of size and in terms of scope.
Too Much
The opening parts of this are deeply fusion-like. The cut grows outward to more soaring, driving prog further down the road. It is a dynamic and powerful cut. The multiple layers of the vocal arrangement really bring a lot of class.
Love Today
I dig the jazzier, more mainstream approach on this tune. It's an entertaining one with some great hooks and styles. This much more of a mainstream tune than much of the rest here.
This is the Way I Am
An ELP-like vibe is merged with more of a real jazz approach. This is a powerhouse piece with killer sounds and melodies. I dig the organ solo a lot. The prog jam that takes over from there is on fire.
The Darkness
Another epic, this comes in with a very symphonic and understated approach. It begins growing from there. After the three-and-a-half minute mark a driving guitar joins, and the cut builds out in more pure progressive rock directions. It drops back a bit for the entrance of the vocals. This works through so many different movements and has so much magic packed into it.
Feel
Here we get the final epic of the set. In fact, at nearly 12-minutes long, this is the song that fills the most time on this album. This one comes in with more of a rocking approach. Fusion and symphonic prog seem to merge as it explores the blank sonic space allotted. This is another dynamic composition. There is some soaring, fusion-like guitar soloing later on the track that is on fire.  There are more melodic movements that move closer to jazz, while others are suitably set in the prog zones.
Beautiful Dream
This is a pretty track based around piano and vocals. It's a potent ballad with quite a bit of jazz in the mix.
With You
This is a melodic and soaring prog-based cut. I really dig the rather fusion-like instrumental movement later.
 
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